Here you will visit the Colònia Güell, a former large industrial complex in Catalonia from the Modernist era, on your own with an audio guide. The complex was named after its owner Eusebi Güell and consits of factory buildings, a settlement for the workers and the well-known crypt of Antoni Gaudí. The crypt was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2005 and is well worth seeing! Above all because of with its architecture, as Gaudí has ââalready found many architectural solutions that he later used in the construction of the Sagrada Familia.
The construction of the workers' settlement "Colonia Güell" began in 1890 on the initiative of the entrepreneur Eusebi Güell on his located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló estate Can Soler de la Torre, in the current district of Baix Llobregat.
In order to stay away from the social conflicts in the cities, they wanted to build a new industrial site in the context of an industrial estate. The workers' houses were to be built on the same estate next to the factory, forming a nucleus of settlement with its own social and economic life supervised by the company.
In contrast to the vast majority of industrial settlements in Catalonia, Eusebi Güell tried to introduce social improvements for the workers and worked as a cultural patron. So he equipped the Colonia Güell with cultural and religious institutions and commissioned various architects with the construction of new buildings in the style of modernism. A unique example of this is the church of Antoni Gaudí.
The masons also left testimonies of their talents on numerous buildings, as can be seen in particular from the varied cornices and façade details.
The workers' settlements were intended as a social and economic organization with the main purpose of industrial production. Most of their time was spent by the men and women of the settlement in the factory, who guaranteed them a steady income at a time of economic uncertainty.
Over the years, however, the settlement was also affected by the trade union movement and the demands of the workers. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, the factory was collectivized and managed by the workers. After the war, she was returned to the Güell family, who sold her to the Bertrand y Serra family in 1945. In the years that followed, industrial production continued and the settlement maintained its largely separate life from Santa Coloma de Cervelló. However, the population of the place grew steadily and exceeded in the 60s, those of the workers' settlement.
The Colonia Güell, on the other hand, was spared the uncontrolled urban growth of the 60s and 70s. It remained practically a compact settlement whose main purpose was industrial production. During the crisis of the textile industry, however, the factory was closed in 1973, an event that led to significant upheavals. During the following years, the property was sold: the plant in small parts to various companies, the houses to their inhabitants and the facilities and surrounding land to public institutions.
You will see in the crypt Gaudí the first signs of his later architectural style in the Sagrada Familia.
Anyone interested in the history of Gaudí should definitely visit the crypt.
The whole complex of the Colònia is also interesting, it stands for innovation and progress for the former workers.